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US Presbyterian Church Divest from companies doing business with Israel


by Marivel Guzman

Presbyterian Church Logo

Presbyterian Church Logo

In another victory for Palestine today the General Assembly of the United State Presbyterian Church in its 221st GA (2014) voted 310-303 in favor to divest from companies that don’t comply with the church policies of “peace making” adding today another triumph to Boycott and Divestment and Sanctions, the Palestinian non-violent civil movement pressuring Israel to comply with its international obligations as an occupier force according to the statutes of the Geneva Convention and United Nations resolutions adopted against Israel.

The GA of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) urges divestment from corporations involve in military-related production, tobacco and human rights violations. See list of companies

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In March 2002, General Assembly Clerk Clifton Kilpatrick sent a letter to Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon stating in part, “While we do not condone the acts of violence by certain Palestinian extremists, we are appalled that Israel, in response, has continued to punish the entire Palestinian population and its leaders who have been your government’s partners in the peace process.”

In its web side the Presbyterian Church announced on January 13 of this year to put in the agenda for Detroit 221st Assembly the vote to divest from companies not in compliance with the church General Assembly that  since 2004  have directed Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI) to use the church’s customary corporate engagement process to ensure that church investments are made only in companies engaged in peaceful pursuits in Israel, the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

“After years of corporate engagement through 2013 and utilizing all tools that we had available to us, these three companies remain entrenched in their involvement in non-peaceful pursuits, and regrettably show no signs of their behavior changing. If anything, since the 2012 General Assembly these companies have deepened their involvement with non-peaceful pursuits that make the General Assembly’s goal of a just peace even more remote,” said Elizabeth Terry Dunning, MRTI committee chair.

The General Assembly military-related divestment policy was first adopted in 1982, and has been revised three times since then.The most recent revision was made by the 1998 General Assembly. This policy is an outgrowth of the General Assembly’s adoption of Peacemaking: A Believer’s Calling, which asked the entire church to review its witness and seek additional ways to promote peacemaking.

At its 221st General Assembly minutes the church voted 310-303 in favor to divest from Caterpillar, which provides heavy equipment that has been used by Israel to demolish Palestinians’‍ homes and build roads for illegal settlements on occupied land; and Motorola Solutions and Hewlett Packard, both of which provide high-technology products and services such as surveillance systems and biometric scanners at checkpoints.BD

 

I am an American Jew that has witnessed first-hand the oppression of the Palestinian people. I spent three months in Nablus in the West Bank. While I was there, I experienced the humiliation these people go through every day just to get to work or visit family in the villages. They have no freedom of movement. There are hundreds of checkpoints scattered between cities in the West Bank, making what should be half hour commutes take up to two hours. This has nothing to do with protection and security for Israel. Most of the check points are not even on the border with Israel. What is happening is an apartheid state where one ethnicity is allowed more rights and Boycott Divestment and Sanctions worked during apartheid in South Africa and we can make it work now! Abby Harms comment on Presbyterian Church forum at Docket 221st General Assembly

 

The Presbyterian Church through its transformational Investment project in Palestine seeks to support collaboration, minimize Palestinian dependence on others  investing in West Bank.
The investment objective is to increase the potential viability of a Palestinian State at peace with Israel……Read more

BDS logo

BDS logo

 

The global movement for a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights was initiated by Palestinian civil society in 2005, and is coordinated by the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), established in 2007. BDS is a strategy that allows people of conscience to play an effective role in the Palestinian struggle for justice

Whistleblower Edward Snowden granted Asylum in Russia


Published on August 1, 2013 by Akashma Online News

UPDATED

by Marivel Guzman

published in RT

Good News for Freedom, Edward Snowden the American whistleblower  leaves the transit area of Russia.

The words that shook the US on June 9, 2013 when Edward Snowden from a hotel in Hong Kong gave a video interview to Laura Poitras, who made the video public in the interest of society. She published it under the Fair Use Notice Act.

“Hello. My name is Ed Snowden. A little over one month ago, I had family, a home in paradise, and I lived in great comfort. I also had the capability without any warrant to search for, seize, and read your communications. Anyone’s communications at any time. That is the power to change people’s fates.”
This was the beginning of NSA nightmare for the US officials.
Now the waters are receding for everyone involved, but not for Edward Snowden, he still face very serious criminals charges if he ever is brought to the US.

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has been granted temporary asylum in Russia and is allowed to enter the country’s territory.

This move would allow him to maneuver and apply for citizenship in another country, so he can hold a passport to take a plane to fly finally to the country that offered him permanent asylum.
Good News for Snowden he is allowed to leave the transit area of the airport and finally breath some freedom, at least for now.

He is not completely free, as long as the US consider him fugitive, Snowden it is in risk of being targeted for assassination, and who knows if Israel’s Mossad will lend a hand to their financial supporters in exchange to stir the mood in the EU after they boycotted Israel economic aid against the illegal settlements. But
Knowing the shady political relations of US/Russia we are in the dark as the secret deals these two countries make in behalf of their banking masters.

For now all the eyes are in Snowden and that gives him a cloud of security. The US could not attempt a drone strike in Russian territory, it is not in its best interest, this could open up an ego wound on the pride of Russia. One thing is to have diplomatic relations on the light of the camera, but another thing is to allow US to openly brake the sovereign of Russia flying in its skies.

The whistleblower has been granted temporary political asylum in Russia, Snowden’s legal representative Anatoly Kucherena said, with his words later confirmed by Russia’s Federal Migration service.

“I have just handed over to him papers from the Russian Immigration Service. They are what he needs to leave the transit zone,” he added.

Kucherena showed a photocopy of the document to the press. According to it, Snowden is free to stay in Russia until at least July 31, 2014. His asylum status may be extended annually upon request.

With his newly-awarded legal status in Russia, Snowden cannot be handed over to the US authorities, even if Washington files an official request. He can now be transported to the United States only if he agrees to go voluntarily.

Snowden departed at around 15.30 Moscow time (11.30 GMT), airport sources said. His departure came some 30 minutes before his new refugee status was officially announced.

Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights States:

  • (1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
  • (2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

His present location has not been made public nor will it be disclosed, Kucherena said.

“He is the most wanted person on earth and his security will be a priority,” the attorney explained. “He will deal with personal security issues and lodging himself. I will just consult him as his lawyer.”

Snowden eventually intends to talk to the press in Russia, but needs at least one day of privacy, Kucherena said.

The whistleblower was unaccompanied when he left the airport in a regular taxi, Kucherena added.

However, WikiLeaks contradicted the lawyer, saying the organization’s activist Sarah Harrison accompanied Snowden.

FLASH: We can now confirm that Edward Snowden’s welfare has been continuously monitored by WikiLeaks staff since his presence in Hong Kong.

— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 1, 2013

Russia is confident that the latest development in the Snowden case will not affect US President Barack Obama’s upcoming visit to Moscow, presidential aide Yuri Ushakov said.

“We are aware of the atmosphere being created in the US over Snowden, but we didn’t get any signals [indicating a possible cancellation of the visit] from American authorities,” he told RIA Novosti.

Snowden, a former CIA employee and NSA contractor, came to international prominence after leaking several classified documents detailing massive electronic surveillance by the US government and foreign allies who collaborated with them.

Snowden was hiding out in a Hong Kong hotel when he first went public in May. Amidst mounting US pressure on both Beijing and local authorities in the former-British colony to hand the whistleblower over for prosecution, Snowden flew to Moscow on June 23.

Moscow was initially intended as a temporary stopover on his journey, as Snowden was believed to be headed to Ecuador via Cuba. However, he ended up getting stranded at Sheremetyevo Airport after the US government revoked his passport. Snowden could neither leave Russia nor enter it, forcing him to remain in the airport’s transit zone.

In July, Snowden applied for temporary asylum in Russia, a status that would allow him to live and work in the country for one year. Kucherena earlier said the fugitive whistleblower is considering securing permanent residency in Russia, where he will attempt to build a life.

President Nicolas Maduro said asylum would be “seriously” considered if sought. Snowden deserves a “humanitarian medal,” he added.

“If this young man is punished, nobody in the world will ever dare to tell the truth,” he stressed.

He’s a man of his word. It’s official. Maduro granted Snowden asylum. He did so on Venezuela’s Day of Independence.  Global Research

Related News to Edward Snowden

AP exec editor briefs UN Security Council on protection of journalists


Posted on July 26, 2013 by Akashma Online News

Kathleen Carroll
Senior Vice President and Executive Editor
The Associated Press
Remarks on the safety of journalists worldwide
United Nations Security Council


July 17, 2013

AP Press Release

 

 

Associated Press Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll addresses a United Nations Security Council meeting on the protection of civilians in armed conflict and the protection of journalists, Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at U.N. headquarters. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

 
Good morning ladies and gentlemen and thank you for the opportunity to talk about an important subject — the right of journalists around the world to work without threat or peril.

Everyone who walks into the main newsroom at AP’s global headquarters in New York passes our Wall of Honor, a softly lit display of photographs and biographies of the 31 Associated Press journalists who have died on assignment since the organization was founded 167 years ago.

I pass it every morning, frequently pausing to look at the faces of the five men killed on my watch as editor:

Nazeh Darwazeh, killed on April 19, 2003, while filming a confrontation between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians in the West Bank city of Nablus.

Saleh Ibrahim, shot to death on April 23, 2005, as he arrived to cover an explosion in the Iraqi city of Mosul.

Aswam Ahmed Lutfallah, shot to death by insurgents as he filmed their gunfight with police in Mosul on December 12, 2006.

Ahmed Hadi Naji, who left home astride his red-and-white motorbike on the way to the AP Baghdad office and disappeared. His body was found in a morgue six days later, January 5, 2007. He had been shot in the back of the head.

Anthony Mitchell, headed home to Kenya from a West Africa reporting trip when the plane he was on crashed in Cameroon on May 5, 2007, killing all aboard.

Like those five men, most of the 31 people on our wall died covering conflict, beginning with the 1876 Battle of the Little Big Horn in the United States.

They fell during the Spanish-American war in Cuba, the Russo-Japanese War, the Korean conflict and World War II – which claimed five AP journalists. Another five died in Vietnam.

Many were shot to death. In an ambush. Or a riot. Shot at a checkpoint. Captured, tortured and shot by the Nazis.

Two were attacked by mobs during civil unrest. Others were mortally wounded by mortars or shells. One went down on a warship, another on a refugee ship.

Others were lost in plane crashes or one of many helicopter crashes, including the 1993 crash in Afghanistan that took the life of the only woman on the Wall of Honor, my friend Sharon Herbaugh.

We bring visitors to the Wall of Honor and it’s important to explain why this is such a special place to us.

These people are part of our professional family. They are in my head and heart each time we send AP journalists off into the world’s many treacherous spots.

But more often, journalists aren’t heading off to an assignment in a treacherous spot. That dangerous assignment is the country they call home and the threat is not from war.

Indeed, most journalists who die today are not caught in some wartime cross-fire, they are murdered just because of what they do. And those murders are rarely ever solved; the killers rarely ever punished.

The Committee to Protect Journalists documents the attacks on journalists each year and their annual accounting is grim indeed. More than 30 journalists are murdered every year and many are abducted and tortured first.

In the overwhelming number of cases — 90 percent — the killers go unpunished. Free to attack and kill again.

CPJ has found that most murdered journalists — 5 in 6 — are killed in their own hometowns covering local stories … usually crime and corruption.

They are attacked by people who know their work, and often know them personally. The journalists are menaced, arrested, beaten again and again; their families or colleagues threatened.

The attacks frequently escalate and some journalists flee their homeland for an exile’s life.
Others are jailed, sometimes for years. Some disappear off the face of the earth.

And many — too many — turn up dead. 12 in Somalia last year alone, 5 in Pakistan, 4 in Brazil, 3 in Syria, others in Russia, Nigeria, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Thailand, Ecuador, India and the Philippines.

So why should the world’s leaders care about threats against journalists?

Many officials the world over complain that journalists are headstrong and nosy. They ask questions, they write stories and take pictures that don’t always sit well with the powerful people they cover. They aim their cameras at things some people don’t want the world to see.

Yet journalists represent the ordinary citizen … they ask questions on behalf of those people. They go to places the people cannot and bear witness. An attack on a journalist is a proxy for an attack on the people, an attack on their right to information about their communities and their institutions.

It’s true that today, a journalist’s tools are readily available to those average citizens. They have smart phones, cameras, satellite transmissions, and many make important contributions to news coverage.

Indeed, authenticated images and reports from deep inside Syria — some by average citizens, some by partisans — have contributed to the world’s understanding of the fighting in that country in the past two years.

Their work enriches what we learn about the world every day, yet the threat to them can be just as great as the threat to professional journalists.

Who will protect them?

And who will protect the reporters and photographers and editors and radio commentators and television hosts … the men and women who swallow fear every day, who constantly calculate the risks of simply doing their job, wondering if the next breath they draw will be their last.

The safety of journalists is not a political topic or a professional rallying cry for me. It is deeply personal. The journalists we have lost all left families behind, often very young children growing up with only the faintest memories of the parent who never came home.

As much as I want to, I know I cannot personally protect all the AP journalists at work in every corner of the globe. But every day, I try to do it anyway.

Because there are 31 photos on the AP Wall of Honor.

And 31 pictures is enough.

Facebook, Apple, Microsoft Partner With Privacy Groups To Call For NSA Transparency


Posted on July 18, 2013 by Akashma Online News

By

First Published at The Huffington Post

The Huffington Post is owned by AOL, which also signed the letter and has denied knowledge of the NSA surveillance program.

A coalition of major tech companies and civil liberties groups on Thursday sent a letter to President Barack Obama calling for more transparency around a secret government program that collects private Internet and phone records.

In the letter, the companies argued that Americans “are entitled to have an informed public debate” about surveillance requests. The coalition urged the Obama administration to allow companies to report statistics about the number of national security requests they receive from government agencies for customer data.

The letter said the government should also issue its own regular “transparency report” disclosing that information.

“Basic information about how the government uses its various law enforcement–related investigative authorities has been published for years without any apparent disruption to criminal investigations,” the letter reads. “We seek permission for the same information to be made available regarding the government’s national security–related authorities.”

“This information about how and how often the government is using these legal authorities is important to the American people, who are entitled to have an informed public debate about the appropriateness of those authorities and their use,” the letter continues.

The companies addressed their petition to President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, NSA Director Keith Alexander, Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper and several members of Congress. It was signed by more than 20 tech companies and more than 30 trade associations and privacy groups — including Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft, and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Silicon Valley and privacy groups do not always agree over privacy matters, making their partnership for the letter noteworthy. Tech companies have faced widespread criticism in recent weeks over reports that they cooperated with the government’s secret Internet spying program. Many tech giants have expressed frustration that they are prohibited by law from discussing the surveillance orders.

The nation’s largest phone companies, including AT&T and Verizon Wireless, were not part of the coalition that signed the letter and have remained quiet about their participation in the NSA surveillance program, as Time.com noted.

The letter comes amid growing calls for greater disclosure about the NSA’s collection of phone and Internet records and a push from members of Congress to scale back the surveillance program, which was disclosed last month in a series of stories in The Guardian and Washington Post.

Disclosure: The Huffington Post is owned by AOL, which also signed the letter and has denied knowledge of the NSA surveillance program.

 

This is Trayvon Martin lifeless body-Not just another black kid


This, Courtesy of MSNBC, Is Trayvon Martin’s Dead Body. Get Angry.

by Adam Weinstein

Trayvon Martin Lifeless body

Trayvon Martin Lifeless body

A reader of mine sent me this photo last night. As the murder trial of George Zimmerman wheezes to its conclusion, the TV networks dutifully pipe in live pool video from the courtroom, as if it is force-fed to them and they have no choice but to excrete it, soft and undigested, into our living rooms, bedrooms, offices. Sometimes, the pool recorder or the networks’ producers don’t switch to a mundane image of lawyers being lawyerly quite fast enough, and we get to see snippets of the human cruelty, stupidity, and frailty that occasion trials such as this.

This is Trayvon Martin’s body. These are the last skinny jeans he wore, cuffed once at the bottoms. These are his stylish kicks, his sockless ankles. There are Trayvon’s taut neck, his slack jaw, his open eyes.

This is what happens. Not just when we input “black” and “teen” and “hoodie” and “night” into our onboard computers and output “DANGER,” but also when we find the aftermath Newsworthy, and must consume it voraciously from start to finish, but insist that we cannot stomach seeing the bones and gristle on our plates.

This image has made its way to the internet on message boards and the like, but not on any notable sites that I could find. The Huffington Post and others have published some images of Martin’s body—covered by a sheet—but none of his face.

I had a brief conversation by email and phone last night with the reader who wanted to send this to me, who felt compelled to save it, but seemed unsure why he had. Before he’d shared the image, I asked him what it showed. Was it newsworthy? He stammered. “It’s… a dead black kid,” he said, disturbed, hoping five words could convey many more. In email, he’d asked me: “What will you do with pic?”

To Trayvon’s parents, Sabrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, I’m sorry that I feel compelled to share this photograph. Were I a slave to journalistic norms, I would say that it’s somehow in the public interest to see him there. I would point out Florida’s sunshine laws, and the TV network’s incompetence, and argue the inevitability that this image would’ve gained a wider audience than it has already.

But those are rationalizations. They don’t explain my motive: Good old-fashioned rage that this kid is dead because my home state empowered a dullard aficionado of Van Damme and Seagal movie cliches to choose his own adventure. Florida literally gave George Zimmerman license to make up neighborhood threats and invite violent confrontations, confident in the knowledge that he carried more firepower jammed down his sweaty fat waistband than every army on earth beheld before 1415.

I wish I were a better person than that, but I’m not. People come up short all the time, after all. I suppose it’s a good thing I don’t have a gun.

Re-Shared from Gawker.com

Gawker contributor Adam Weinstein is a Florida-based writer and editor. You can reach him via adamweinsteinwriter.com.

Florida jury finds George Zimmerman not guilty


Posted on July 13, 2013 by Akashma Online News

Florida Jury set a new precedent for Justice finding George Zimmerman not guilty of second degree murder

11George Zimmerman's parents Robert Zimmerman Sr. and Gladys Zimmerman celebrate following their son's his not guilty verdict in the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin at the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center in Sanford, Florida, July 13, 2013. REUTERS-Gary W. Green-Pool
A Seminole County Sheriff's deputy carries Trayvon Martin's shirt as trial evidence is moved out of the courtroom in Sanford, Florida July 13, 2013 during the trial of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. REUTERS-Joe Burbank-Pool

By Ellen Wulfhorst

SANFORD, Florida | Sat Jul 13, 2013 10:50pm EDT

(Reuters) – A Florida jury on Saturday found George Zimmerman not guilty in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, in a case that sparked a national debate on race and guns.

The panel of six women deliberated more than 16 hours over two days until nearly 10 p.m. on Saturday (0200 GMT Sunday) before delivering the verdict, which drew immediate condemnation from some civil rights groups.

Zimmerman appeared stoned-faced as the verdict was announced, but then showed a slight smile of relief. His parents embraced each other and his wife was tearful.

Zimmerman, 29, said Martin, 17, attacked him on the night of February 26, 2012, in the central Florida town of Sanford. Prosecutors contend the neighborhood watch coordinator in his gated community was a “wannabe cop” who tracked down the teenager and shot him without justification.

The jury could have convicted him of second-degree murder or manslaughter.

“Today, justice failed Trayvon Martin and his family,” Roslyn M. Brock, chairman of the National Association of Colored People, said in a statement.

“We call immediately for the Justice Department to conduct an investigation into the civil rights violations committed against Trayvon Martin. This case has re-energized the movement to end racial profiling in the United States.”

The news also drew angry shouts from some of the dozens of demonstrators who had gathered outside the courtroom during the day in support of Martin’s family. His parents were not in the court during the reading of the verdict.

Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson tweeted within minutes of the acquittal: “Avoid violence, it will lead to more tragedies. Find a way for self construction not deconstruction in this time of despair.”

What happened in Sanford that February night may never have gone beyond the back pages of a local newspaper if police had immediately arrested Zimmerman.

But he walked free for more than six weeks after the shooting, because police believed his claim of self-defense, triggering protests and cries of injustice across America.

It also drew comment from President Barack Obama, forced the resignation of Sanford’s police chief, and brought U.S. Justice Department scrutiny to this town of 54,000 residents not far from Disney World in Orlando.

(Additional reporting by Tom Brown in Miami and Barbara Liston in Sanford; Editing by Dina Kyriakidou and Peter Cooney)

 

Braking News: Plane from Korea Crashes in San Francisco


Plane Crashes on Landing in San Francisco

Isabella Lacaze

The plane’s tail was snapped off some distance from where the plane finally came to rest in the grass off the runway.

By

A Boeing 777 operated by the Korean airline Asiana crashed while landing Saturday at San Francisco International Airport, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

KTVU

The plane was Asiana Flight 214 from Seoul, South Korea, a spokesman for the F.A.A.

Noah Berger/Associated Press

Images and video of the crash showed the plane on fire, with smoke billowing from crumpled fuselage, lying on its belly on scrub grass at the airport.

Images and video of the crash showed the plane on fire, with smoke billowing from the crumpled fuselage, lying on its belly on scrub grass at the airport. It had lost its tail.

The debris field from the crash began at the seawall at the start of the Runway 28, according to aerial video images. Both wings remained attached but one engine was ripped off. The tail was snapped off some distance from where the plane finally came to rest in the grass off the runway.

The plane was Flight 214 from Seoul, South Korea, a spokesman for the F.A.A., Lynn Lunsford, said.

Firefighters were on the scene, but there were no immediate reports of the extent of casualties, although there were reports that the rescue slides had been deployed and a number of passengers had escaped. It was not clear how many people had been on board.

David Eun, who said in a Twitter message that he had been a passenger on the plane, posted a picture of a downed Asiana jetliner from ground level, which showed some passengers walking away from the aircraft.

An aviation official, who did not want to be identified discussing a fluid situation, said that the plane was not making an emergency landing, and that the situation had been entirely normal until the crash. The cause was also unclear.

Stefanie Turner, who posted on Twitter that she had witnessed the crash, said that the “plane came in at a bad angle, flipped, exploded.”

Juan Gonzalez, the supervising manager at Amoura Café in the airport, said that he did not hear any explosions but was told by airport workers that the tail had snapped off when it landed.

“Right now, there is just a lot of smoke and all the fire trucks are trying to get to the plane,” Mr. Gonzalez said

There was no immediate answer at a number listed for Asiana at San Francisco’s airport.

The Asiana plane took off at 5:04 p.m. Korean time, about 34 minutes after its scheduled pushback from the gate, according to FlightAware, a tracking service. It reached the runway in San Francisco at 11:28 a.m., Pacific time. FlightAware said the route was slightly longer than planned, 7,257 miles over 10 hours and 23 minutes.

The National Transportation Safety Board said in Washington that it would dispatch a team of investigators immediately, including the board’s chairwoman, Deborah A.M. Hersman.

The Asiana 777 is the second such plane to be destroyed on the runway. In January 2008, a 777 operated by British Airways crashed short of the runway at Heathrow in London on a flight from Beijing; investigators said ice had accumulated in the fuel lines and recommended a change to assure the problem could not happen again. There was only one serious injury among the 152 passengers and crew on board the British Airways flight, but the plane was destroyed.

Norimitsu Onishi, Mark Santora and Matthew L. Wald contributed reporting. Susan Beachy contributed research.

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